Progressive Field plays host to two of the hottest teams in baseball tonight. The Boston Red Sox have won 8 of their last 9 games, and will try to knock off baseball’s best team, the Cleveland Indians.
Tonight, the Red Sox have to battle against Justin Masterson, the guy they traded away two seasons ago. Masterson is 5-2 and hasn’t forgotten the team that shunned him. Here’s the team reports for both the Tribe and the Red Sox;
Asdrubal Cabrera appears to be on a mission. Cabrera was “a one-man show” Sunday in the words of manager Manny Acta as he had his first career five-hit game, including two home runs and five RBI, to lead the Indians to a 12-4 win over Cincinnati.
Cabrera is off to an All-Star caliber start this season. His five-hit game Sunday boosted his batting average 20 points to .302. He leads the Indians in both home runs, with nine, and RBI with 32.
He has been the Indians’ best player so far this season, and would appear to be the club’s leading candidate to be selected to the American League All-Star team. That’s a far cry from Cabrera’s disappointing 2010 season.
Last year he missed two months of the season with a broken left forearm. That limited him to 381 at bats, in which he hit three home runs with 29 RBI. In 182 at-bats this season Cabrera has already exceeded his home run and RBI totals from last season. Cabrera and Acta attribute Cabrera’s outstanding start to him being healthy. Acta said Cabrera’s broken arm last season robbed him of some strength, and he was unable to consistently drive the ball.
This year, a healthy Cabrera is driving the ball again. Acta also said Cabrera is benefitting from being a more mature player and a more mature hitter. He has also evolved into one of the Indians’ leaders as they continue to be the surprise team of the 2011 season.
–SS Asdrubal Cabrera was 5-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI Sunday. “He was remarkable,” said manager Manny Acta, who called Cabrear a “one-man show. He was on every pitch.” It’s Cabrera’s first career five-hit game, and the first by an Indians player since Jhonny Peralta, in Aug. 2008, at Tampa Bay.
–RHP Josh Judy made his major league debut Sunday, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. “That was a whole new level of adrenaline for me,” he said. “My eyes were twitching, my legs were twitching.”
–RHP Alex White will miss the next two to three months with a sprained right middle finger. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Smith said an MRI confirmed the injury, sustained by White while throwing a pitch in the third inning Friday. White, the Indians’ top pick in the 2009 draft, was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts.
–RHP Mitch Talbot is expected to be activated off the disabled list and will start Wednesday versus Boston. Talbot, who has been on the DL since April 17 with a right elbow strain, will take the place in the rotation of RHP Alex White, who went on the DL Sunday with a sprained finger.
–RHP Josh Tomlin’s win Saturday improved his record to 6-1, and lowered his ERA to 2.41. Tomlin is tied for the most wins in the majors and his 0.82 WHIP leads the majors.
BY THE NUMBERS: May 22 — The date the Indians won their 18th home game. Last year they didn’t win their 18th home game until July 16.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He was a one-man show. He just took over.” — Manager Manny Acta on SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who was 5-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI in a 12-4 win over Cincinnati Sunday.
–RHP Alex White (soreness in his right middle finger) left the May 20 game and went on the disabled list May 21. He is expected to miss two to three months.
–DH Travis Hafner (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 18.
–CF Grady Sizemore (bruised right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 11.
–RHP Mitch Talbot (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He threw a bullpen session May 3, and he pitched in extended spring training May 9. He made a rehab start for Class AAA Columbus on May 14, and he pitched for Columbus again May 19. He is expected to be activated off the disabled list and will start May 25 versus Boston.
–INF Jared Goedert (strained abdominal muscle) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on May 10.
–OF Trevor Crowe (right shoulder surgery in March 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He will be out until at least late July.
BOSTON RED SOX
David Ortiz made history Saturday night.
With a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Fenway Park, Ortiz became only the fifth player to go deep 300 times as a member of the Red Sox. The other sluggers in the exclusive club: Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382) and Dwight Evans (379).
“It’s an honor for me to be mentioned in that category with those guys that played here for a long time,” Ortiz said. “Through the years, they were putting up great numbers.”
Ortiz also has 142 home runs at Fenway, tying him with Manny Ramirez for sixth-most at the historic ballpark.
“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?” catcher Jason Varitek said. “He’s done a lot and he’s continuing to do what he does and swinging the bat real well. Big congratulations to David.”
But Ortiz was unable to take much satisfaction from his accomplishment. The Red Sox imploded in the eighth inning, turning a 3-1 lead into a 9-3 loss and rendering Ortiz’s homer meaningless to the final outcome of the game.
“Just another good swing,” Ortiz said. “I heard people talking about (No. 300 Friday) for the first time. I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ So nothing, here we are.”
Interestingly, Ortiz’s milestone homer was caught by CNN anchor John King, who was attending the game with his wife and sitting in the Monster Seats. King tweeted that he gave the ball to Ortiz in exchange for an autographed bat.
–RHP Tim Wakefield made a spot start for the Red Sox on Sunday night and earned his 194th career victory. Using his signature knuckleball, Wakefield disrupted the timing of the aggressive Cubs hitters and allowed one run on only four hits in 6 2/3 innings. “Boy, he was really good,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I guess it shouldn’t amaze me because he’s been doing that for such a long time.”
Wakefield reentered the rotation last week when RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka went on the disabled list with a sprained elbow ligament. With performances like this, he may remain in the rotation for a while. Wakefield also notched his 180th win with the Red Sox, trailing only Cy Young and Roger Clemens (192 wins apiece) for the club record. “When you’re asked to do a job and you do it well — I take a lot of pride in that,” Wakefield said.
–C Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a rough April, but he continues to settle in behind the plate for the Red Sox. In addition to blasting another mammoth home run, a solo shot that landed in the Monster Seats atop the left-field wall, Saltalamacchia worked through a solid start with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, never an easy task for a catcher. “It’s different, but I kind of like it,” Saltalamacchia told the Boston Globe. “It’s not like catching anybody else.” After batting .194 with no homers and a .500 on-base plus slugging percentage in 20 games through May 5, Saltalamacchia is batting .345 with three homers, five RBI and a 1.143 OPS in his last 10 games.
–1B Adrian Gonzalez had a big series against a former National League opponent. Gonzalez, who spent the past five years in the NL with the San Diego Padres, went 10-for-15 in a three-game inter-league series against the Chicago Cubs, including four hits Sunday night. In fairness, though, Gonzalez has been hitting every team in the American League, too. He leads the majors with 41 RBI. He also has a majors-leading eight homers in May.
–3B Kevin Youkilis became the Red Sox’s all-time hit-by-pitch leader in the fifth inning Saturday night when he got plunked by a Carlos Zambrano fastball. It marked the 72nd time in his career that Youkilis had been hit by a pitch, moving him past Mo Vaughn for the club record. Youkilis said he expected to get hit, especially after Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves drilled Kosuke Fukudome in the knee and Marlon Byrd in the head. “It seems like I’m always the one getting hit,” Youkilis said. “It’s one of those things. For some reason, when this stuff happens, I’m the one that’s getting hit. I thought Zambrano did the right thing. When you hit one guy in the kneecap and another guy in the face, there’s a good chance you’re going to get hit. And Carlos did it the right way. He threw it right on my hip, and that’s the way you do it.”
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 — Players with at least 300 home runs for the Red Sox. On Saturday night, David Ortiz joined a club that includes Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382) and Dwight Evans (379).
QUOTABLE: “Have you seen it? It’s not good. I’ve only put on the hat so far, and the description I would say is, not the uniform but me, I’m a little Max Patkin-ish.” — Manager Terry Francona, on the replica 1918 uniforms worn by the Red Sox last Saturday night.
ROSTER REPORT MEDICAL WATCH:
–RHP Josh Beckett (neck tightness) left the May 19 game, but the ailment was considered minor.
–RHP Dan Wheeler (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list May 5. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Pawtucket on May 12, and he was activated May 20.
–RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (right elbow sprain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 17. He hopes to resume throwing in early June, but that might be unlikely. It’s possible he might not return until after the All-Star break.
–RHP John Lackey (right elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 12. Lackey has been playing catch after receiving a cortisone injection May 16.
–SS Marco Scutaro (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list May 8. He was targeting May 23 to resume swinging a bat.
–RHP Bobby Jenks (strained right biceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 2. He played catch for the first time May 17. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session May 23 in Cleveland.
–RHP Junichi Tazawa (Tommy John surgery in April 2010) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. The timetable for his return was unknown.